8 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

a coach house for the

a coach house for the Stockers’ convenience. Immediate possession was guaranteed. 2 Nevertheless it was clear that a permanent home was necessary, and after debating various options a handsome vicarage was built at Lincoln on a five acre section on Ellesmere Junction Road (now The Gables on Gerald St.) for 100 pounds. The Stockers moved in during August 1876 and it continued in use as a vicarage until 1937 when it was sold because of its age and general lack of “modern facilities”. A house was then rented from the Rhodes family in Tai Tapu until 1956 when the present vicarage on the corner of Leinster Terrace and Edward Street was built on land set aside as a school reserve in the first subdivision. 3 39. The Gables Vicarage on Gerald Street Although the vicarage was now in Lincoln, the township was still without a church, the nearest being St Mary’s at Springston, and St. Paul’s at Tai Tapu, opened in 1875 and 1876 respectively. However, services were held in the village from 1869 when the Revd. F. Pember took a service once a month in the Lincoln school room and in that same year the Revd. A.P. O’Callaghan offered a service each week at his Springs farm until St. Stephen’s was built. 4 He was assisted by A.C. Knight of “Newlands” farm, Ladbrooks, who was the local representative on the Provincial Council. 104

It was clearly unsatisfactory that there was no Anglican church at Lincoln. To resolve the difficulty a meeting of local Anglicans in December 1876 decided to build a church even although it was clear that financial help could not be expected from the diocese. 5 The building, designed by B.W. Mountfort, was built by the Grieg Brothers at a cost of 407 pounds exclusive of furniture. It was opened on 26 August 1877 by Bishop Harper, assisted by the Revds. Harry Stocker and A.P. O’Callaghan and despite heavy rain the church was filled for the occasion. The Lincoln choir, joined by members of the Springston and Tai Tapu churches, sang the processional hymn as the Bishop entered the church. The church was consecrated two years later, when the building was mostly clear of debt, at a service attended by Harry Stocker, who earlier had been appointed to a charge at Akaroa, and by clergy from neighbouring churches. A Sunday School was opened soon afterwards with 35 students who formerly had been enrolled with the Unsectarian Sunday School at the Presbyterian church. The first teachers were The Revd. and Mrs. O’Callaghan, G. Lipscombe, W.A. Murray, Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Stocker. 6 The Lyttelton Times commented that the building itself was more appealing than its design, a reflection perhaps of the quality of the wood used which came from Little River mills. However, the reporter was certain that it would not be long before the church, built to seat 80, would be too small. 7 This proved to be prophetic, for nine years later the building was enlarged by adding transepts to increase its capacity to 105 people. 8 Mountfort was commissioned to design the additions and the contract for the building was let to Messrs Forbes for 226 pounds to which had to be added the cost of extra seating. The opening took place on the morning of 25 March 1886. It was followed with luncheon and in the evening with a harvest festival service for which extra seating was borrowed from the Presbyterians. There was little subsequent change until 1959 when the original weatherboard was covered with roughcast. This was significant, for it resulted in so much structural decay that thirty years later it was realised that either the church had to be demolished or extensive renovations had to be carried out. After much debate the latter option was adopted with such a stunning result that today St. Stephens can be regarded as the jewel in Lincoln’s crown! 105

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